Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Do You Love What You Do?

I recently wrote a blog post about analyzing how much I love my work, and if there are parts of my work that I don't love - Loving What You Do

It got me thinking ... Do you think that you should love all of the facets of your work?  Do you source out the pieces that you don't love?  Do you think that you wouldn't love your work as much if you only did your favorite parts all of the time?

Tell me about the parts that you love!  After all, I'm a sucker for a good love story!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Challenge Results! Part #3

Sadly, this is my final results post!  It has been so much fun getting these results in!  In order to protect the innocent ... and the embarrassed ... I am not posting any disasters though!
Rachel Rode of RachelRode received supplies from Sarah-Lambert Cook of SarahLambertCook!  Here is what she had to say!

"She sent several paper punches of her watercolor color test areas. Basically splotches. :) She also sent a copper bezel and a brass locket, but I did not use them for this project. I didn't want to make jewelry - I wanted to make something out of the box and crafty since I don't get to dabble much in that area anymore. So when I saw the punches, I immediately thought of making a mobile sort of thing. Don't know why, but the different colors just looked so fun and pretty.

So I paired the punches that she sent with some of my own punches of vintage dictionary words and illustrations. I used a nature theme using earth, water, wood, air, flora, fauna, etc. There is an illustration of the moon cycles, a sun dial, and a hummingbird. I also found some dried rose petals inside one of my dictionaries, so I punched a few of them for the mobile. I included some pretty green leaf beads, freshwater pearls, and some glass beads for sparkle.
I strung and knotted the beads in place and then attached the punches in twos, back to back, on fishing line. I strung a large ocean jasper bead on the bottom of each line to hold it taught. Then I tied the fishing line to a birch twig that had broken off one of our trees. I haven't attached a hanger yet - my husband held the twig for the pictures, which, by the way are not very good - it's kind of hard to photograph a large project that has lots tiny details! And my lighting was awful. :(  I had planned to encase the punches in resin but I ran out of time! I think that would add some 3 dimensional character and sparkle.

I guess I can't exactly call the piece a mobile since it doesn't turn except on each line. And it's not a wind chime since it's not meant for wind and it doesn't chime! It's more of a wall hanging...a little bit of frippery for fun. I love the colors and the theme of it though the execution wasn't quite what I had in mind...that happens to me all the time! I like the "happy little surprises" as Bob Ross used to say. :)~

I have not listed this in my's more of a decoration for my studio. I love Sarah-Lambert's work, even splotches! So I might rework the design to focus more on her punches and less on the other stuff."
Finally we have Laura of le animalé who received supplies from April of MooreMagnets!

Laura, also created 2 sets of things including a tiny box and some magnets!  I wonder if she will let a tiny animal live in the box! 
Here's what Laura had to say!

"My first thought was to paint animals on the pieces you sent, but I wanted to try to push myself into something more unexpected. For me, at least. In this case it kind looks like I pushed myself backward, toward Kindergarten maybe, but that's ok. It was fun messing in the paints and glitter (ugh, glitter) and getting my fingers messy. :)"

I would like to thank everyone who participated in this challenge!  Perhaps we will do another one next summer!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

AAG Summer Challenge Results #2!

So, I guess it is my turn =), April of MooreMagnets ... I actually thought for a long time that my results were going to be one of the "crafting disasters"! ... Not because of the lovely supplies sent to be by Jocelyn of FlowerLeaf ... as you can see it was a lovely collection of beads and chain!  However, I am in no way, shape or form a jewelry maker!  It is actually one of the things that I love about Etsy and being on this team, because there are so many wonderful jewelry makers that do fabulous work, that I never ever ever have to make it myself!

 So I looked and looked at these lovely goodies all collected in a cup ... well for a week they rolled all over my desk and drove me crazy!  I made about 3 trips to the craft store and eventually collected these other jewelry making supplies ... I have cursed and thrown my fist so many times dropping these little pieces, put the beads on little pieces of wire and connected them to the chain with the little round things (yes I am using very technical jewelry terms now), only to have the chain break and the little round things pull apart again ...

Yes, I pretty much gave up ... until my pony tail holder broke and I decided to make a book mark ... not sure how I came with that idea ... but I did ... and here is the result ... Not a jewelry wonder or the most beautiful design ... but every time I read a book I will remember how much I love Jocelyn's shop, and how I am so thankful that she makes these lovely things so that I don't have to!!


Next up is Jocelyn jeweler and painter extraordinaire of Flowerleaf!  Now Jocelyn out did herself and not only made one project ... but 2!!!

Jocelyn received a bunch of supplies from Michelle of Calamaristudio and plans to continue to use the supplies after this project!

First up is a set of paintings that she made ... here is what she said about them.  "I sent a bunch of different perspectives to show the 3 little pieces that are part of a series "Wish you were here."  I wanted to create a contemporary collage/mini shadowbox with the canvases I was given. The pictures come from vintage postcards and the borders of the larger canvas have pieces of a map and the back of the postcard with actual writing on it.  when I put the varnish on the paper, it made the ink bleed and I really like the look of it. "

Second, Jocelyn has added a completely new line of jewelry to her Etsy shop because of this challenge!  Jocelyn says, "I had a blast using the shrink plastic and it has brought a new form of media into my jewelry, so thank [you] bunches for this challenge."  Here is one of the sets that she made!  It is listed in her Etsy shop, so run over there and have a closer look!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What do you want?

I think the defining characteristic of my generation is not knowing what we want to be or where we're going. Maybe it's what makes shows like HBO's "Girls" so popular. People can really identify with that. In the show, all of these girls are in their midtwenties and someone asks at least once in every episode, "What do you want to be when you grow up."

Lately, I've been asking myself this question a lot. It's sort of a funny question to ask when I work from home and am doing pretty well at it. But I'm asking all the same.

I started to take a good hard look at my business in spring, but it was in June that I asked myself the really important question--one I hadn't asked since I started working on making it go two summers ago: What do I want to get out of this. It's an incredibly important question! Without knowing the answer to this, how do I really know how much effort I want to put in? What do I want to get out of my own labors? I guess it hadn't really occurred to me when I started that this would change. It should have. My goals were all built around working to get myself and my husband into a place of our own where we were comfortable. When I started, I had 5 things I wrote down that I knew I wanted to achieve and I gave myself a deadline of January (I set the goals in June, 2010):

1. The financial independence to not have to work outside of my own endeavors.
2. Location freedom
3. Sell at least 500 pieces
4. Establish a definite look for my work and my shop.
5. Begin making my brand truly recognizable.

In a lot of ways, I've achieved most of these things (#5 is still iffy). Still, I look at what I wanted then and I realize that it was all very short term. I had images of myself working a year later, but not of where I wanted to be several years later or even ten years down the road.

Right now, it's not just about setting long term goals. What it is about is figuring out what I truly want and setting those long term goals to help me meet that.

...I haven't got it yet.

I wish I was writing this from the vantage point of someone who has really figured it out and set goals and put them into action. I have set more short-term goals, but it's just not the same, is it?

So here's what I put forth to you: it's not about deciding "What you want to be when you grow up," that's such a broad question and I don't know that it needs to ever be answered, but decide what do you want to get out of whatever it is you're endeavoring to do now. What do you want to get out of working in an office building, running your home business, or taking classes?

Sit down and write out what you truly want. What do you see these current actions bringing you? Work through it and really figure out where you want this to carry you. That's the hard part. Once you have that, it's easy to figure out how to get there.

By Sarah-Lambert Cook

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Challenge Results! Part 1

I have to say that the most exciting part of heading up this team challenge has been getting the results in!  I am always so blown away by the talent of this team, so to see them work with different materials and in different mediums has been pretty incredible! 

First up - Sewingseed!  Tina is a very talented cross-stitcher and creator of wonderful cross-stitch patterns, so it was fun to see what she would make with supplies from Laura at Le Animale, creator of wonderful animal totems!  Tina received some little gems that were incorporated in to this lovely hoop wall hanging!

She wrote a whole blog post about it, so you can head over and read all about it!  She has links to some awesome tutorials in her post too in case you want to learn how to make these cool flowers!

Next comes Michelle of Calamari Studio who received cross stitch supplies from Tina above! 

This is what Michelle had to say about the challenge!

"I received my supplies from Tina of Sewing Seed, which consisted of a cross stitch kit with material, thread, a needle and a button. 

I'd never cross stitched before, but I've always wanted to give it try, so this became the perfect motivation to figure it out. I decided that I was going to cross stitch a quote from one of my and my husband's favorite shows.

After all was said and done, I definitely have to say that I still have a lot to learn. There were a lot of knotted thread issues when I decided to use way too long thread, I was constantly loosing track of how many spaces I'd decided there was going to be between letters and words, and I'm pretty sure it took me twice as long as it needed to because I had no idea what I was doing, ha ha. However, my husband loves it, and it was lots of fun!"

I think Michelle did an amazing job!!

I'll bring you some more next time!!  This is so much fun!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer Challenge

Greetings!  It has been a long hot summer around here, and we still have August!  I hope you can all find a way to enjoy the last half of summer and stay cool!

AAG team members have been off on vacations, busy crafting, coming up with new ideas, and some of us have been working on a team challenge too!

At the beginning of June I had this crazy idea ... you know one of those ideas you think is "Wow, What a fantastic idea!!!" and then you get in the middle of it and thing "Oh No!  What was I thinking!!"

The idea was ... Why don't we all swap some craft supplies with each other and see what we can make! 

Now the results are in, projects are finished, some disasters were created, and most of all I think we were all ready to settle back in with our own familiar supplies =)

Next week I will start showing you the results of this challenge ... between now and then I am going to go tell my supplies how much I love them!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sense Diary ~ Riddle: We Have Five of These.

     If your answer to the riddle was "senses" then you are correct!  Keeping a sense diary is all about putting the five senses we have been given to good use and these days, we are fed with so much media that I wonder if we stop to smell the roses like we used to?  Do we marvel over the awesome cloud formation in the sky while we are taking a walk in the park, or when we go to the grocery store, do we notice how the grocers display their produce?  

When we are going about our daily tasks, everything can seem common and mundane, but statistics and probability prove that's just not the case.  You can go the same place every day, see the same people everyday, and eat relatively the same meals every day, but there's always something new to notice when you force yourself to see, taste, hear, touch, and smell everything differently than what you're already used to seeing, feeling, hearing, tasting, and smelling. 

from Pinterest

This week's assignment is about finding something uncommon in your everyday tasks and heightening your senses. This will expand your creativity after incorporating it into your craft. I have a feeling that the most creative people look at the everyday things much differently than most people do and that's an amazing thing to know.  Plus, it gives us all something to reach for - coming up with more original ideas and concepts that can help us be more prolific with our craft as well as help grow our business. 

This week's sense diary assignment:

Pick at least three things you do every day or every week and try to notice something you have never noticed before, using all your senses... 

This doesn't mean you have to taste a tree when you're walking in the park, but maybe feel the bark, smell it if you don't care who may see you... and record your observations - the sounds you heard, things you tasted when eating a sandwich that you might usually scarf down because you have to get back to work, etc.

You can record these things three ways, or you can use all three.  Sense diaries are all about what you want to include and how you want to include it.  So you can make a list, write a paragraph or two, or you can make a sketch of the actual thing you noticed.  

Don't forget to have fun... even though I am using the word... "assignment."  *gulp*  ;-)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sense Diary - Making the Diary Yours.

I hope everyone had fun staring at an object every day and then describing it! I thought it would be awesome to get everyone started on something like that before really getting into any detail about what makes up a sense diary/artist journal.  I decided to take a journey through the internet to search out other artists' journals so those who haven't ever started one can get a little more of an idea on how to approach this tangible way of recording ideas and inspirations on a daily basis.

This stack of journals is a perfect example of how you want your sense diary to look like - you want the journal to look like it's yours.  So now that you've filled some of the pages of your journal, it's time to turn the outside into a reflection of who you are.  What does your favorite room in your house look like? What's your favorite era in history?  Do you have this song that you always have stuck in your head that you actually like the lyrics to? These are all things that you can draw, paint, write, paste pictures of that will make your journal uniquely yours.  Plus, it might actually make you want to pick it up everyday to add something to the pages inside.

* A very important thing to remember:  Everyone who is creative may not draw or paint, or write poetry, but something in you makes you love to create whatever it is that you create, so while keeping a sense dairy may be more difficult for the non-visual artist, I want to challenge you to try it out and not worry about the result - it's all about the process and about bringing out more of how you think and what you see.

So that is the only assignment for this week... isn't that rad?

Some tools to consider (and to get your ideas flowing):

Your journal, of course AND...

- Tape - you can definitely use the pretty tape, or masking tape...  (sometimes I end up drawing on the tape, so I usually use masking tape)
- Glue Stick
- Markers, erasers, watercolors, ink pens, calligraphy pens, pencils, white out pen, crayons, colored pencils, pencils, etc.
- Stamps, stencils, ink pad
- Tissue Paper, newspaper, graph paper
- Images from magazines, photocopies, wallpaper, etc.
- Sheet music
- Ribbon, string, thread, etc.

And anything else you can think of!

I will actually be collecting images of these to share in the next couple weeks, so take your time and I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. As time goes by, the outside of your sense diary will most likely have just as many layers as some of your entries on the actual pages themselves.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Busy with Frida

Last week I missed my Monday post... It´s just that I´ve been soooo busy! (you wonder what I´ve been doing?) Well... I´ve been making Fridas! Frida dolls!!!! 28 Frida dolls!!!!!  and each one has a lot of work a lot of black thread... because each sweet face and hairstyle of these 28 dolls is "drawn" with black thread in the sewing machine... and then I´ll have to dress them... Frida used to dress in many bright colors and bride her hair with flowers and ribbons... so my dolls also have those (bright colors and flowers in the hair)...

So... it´s been 2 crazy weeks!!!  All these dollies are for 2 special places (it´s a suprise) I will let you know soon!

I guess I just wanted to let you all know I´m SUPER BUSY!!!!!
hope you have a nice week!!!!!
(wish me luck!) :D

Thursday, April 26, 2012

In Progress

It's always nice as a customer or fan to see something in progress. I forget this sometimes as the artist, though, and forget to take pictures along the way.

For the last several months, I've been working hard to remind myself that the steps are often just as interesting as the finished piece, so I keep my camera handy for snapping some shots.

Seeing these "in progress" shots helps customers and fans really see what goes into making that oh-so-special piece they have. It also helps them really see that, yes, this is really handmade!

Don't forget to share your "in progress" moments with your fans sometimes too!

**All of the above pieces can be found at TuckooandMooCow's Etsy shop.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sense Diary ~ A Closer Look.

I am so thankful to have had such amazing art teachers when I was in college and there is a specific teacher (I will be sharing a blog entry featuring her work in the very near future) who inspired me to stretch my imagination and allow myself to draw outside the lines. It's about 13 years since I was going to community college and this year I felt the desire to return to jotting down ideas/inspirations/challenges into an artist journal, but not just an artist journal -  a sense diary.

Keeping a sense diary involves taking the concept of the artist journal a step further, where the artist not only sketches ideas that are milling around in their head, it's a record of making more intentional observations of mundane, everyday things... to always be seeing something different, and taking a closer look to see what makes up an object, or how things change from day to day.

Every week I will be sharing different artist journals/sense diaries from my own diary, other sources online and will be posting a challenge each week that will require keeping your own sense diary that you can write in, draw in, paste magazine clippings, pressed flowers, etc. but there will always be an underlying theme for the week.  I think keeping these diaries will stretch your imagination and help you create with a much larger revelation of everything that surrounds you.

I started my first entry by going through some magazines and finding textures and colors that intrigued me.  I love Anthropologie and was drawn to this gorgeous display so I pulled out parts that my eyes were particularly drawn to and wrote down thoughts of those things.  I also attached a little drawing I had intended to use for a locket, but it didn't work how I wanted it.   I like being able to keep a record of some things that don't work because they may work again some other time when working on a different project, or they may spark an entirely new idea.

This Week's Challenge - Sense Diary for 4/25-5/2:

Pick an ordinary object from your house and place it somewhere where it won't be disturbed.  Each day, observe and write down all that you notice about the object.  Think of everything and don't leave out things you might think are silly.  The small things matter just as much as the larger things.

So go purchase a brand new and fairly large sketchbook (which brings about good excuse to go out and buy one of those, right?) and have fun!  See you all next week! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To Don't

Photograph by Madden Photography

I've been traveling a bit recently, and one thing (the only thing?) I love about the actual traveling part is that being in an airport or airplane for any amount of time allows me to catch up on reading. I haven't done a great job of setting aside time to read in my day to day schedule, so the flights I used to dread I now look forward to because it means I have some time to get lost in a book.

On my past couple of flights I finished Drive by Daniel Pink (an interesting read), which is all about what motivates us. At the end of the book Pink shares some tools for staying on track and keeping motivated. One stood out in particular, because it is very simple yet I could instantly see how it would be an effective tool. Most of us probably have a good idea of the things that distract us, but have you ever really organized those thoughts and written them down on a to-don't list? I hadn't!

The idea of making a to-don't list (credited to Tom Peters, btw) is so simple and easy to implement, especially if you already write to-do lists. I love that it's a tangible little reminder of the things we know we shouldn't be doing that suck up our time and energy. The next time you're writing a to-do list, why not make a separate column and jot down a few things that you want to avoid that day and just say no! Staying motivated and focused can be tough. Making a to-don't list is a great way to check your distracting habits at the door so you can concentrate and get more done (e.g, stop checking Facebook so you have more time to read besides just when you're on an airplane). ;)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Calm as still water (for the next 3 weeks)

I was not sure about what to write today...  I was looking for some inspiration and suddenly bumped into this photo.  I was so attracted by it.  I`m so like that right now.  I feel exhausted... and with a lot of things around me that need to be done, finished, organized, etc...

I`m reading "A song of Ice and Fire" since a couple of months... I`m starting the fifth book now (A Dance with Dragons) and one of my favorite characters is Ayra, a small girl, who suddenly is alone in the world due to the war that`s going on in the story... Before all her family was killed she used to live in a castle, and she was learning how to fight with a sword.  She is one of those girls who don´t like dolls and dressing with lacy dresses, she wanted to ride a horse and be able to fight with a sword so finally her father gave up and let her take some classes... I`m telling you all this because in the book, the character that was teaching her how to fight (Syrio Forel, one of my favorite ones in the story), he teaches her the following phrases: "Calm as still water", "Quick as a snake", "quiet as a shadow" and when she is all alone and in the most horrible dangers she keeps repeating them to get stronger... 

I`ve been doing that... with these phrases and other phrases of my own...  "you can do it", "balance it out", "time goes slow... not fast" and many others.  And this is just because I get really stressed all the time about all those things I need to do!!!! oh oh oh it`s always an emergency and I`m always doing million and one things at the same time and sometimes I think I don´t accomplish much you see... so why, o why if I was doing all those things at the same time at the end of the day I feel empty, exhausted and with a bunch of things to do still... Plus I always end up doing what I want to do and not what needs to be done, so that`s a problem too.. because I`ll have more thing to do the next day and so on, and on... and on...

Well... this is because my mind is not disciplined.. and this is what I need to do... I need to be "calm as still water", "quick as a snake" and "quiet as a shadow"...  and just right now I need to have something to eat because is midday and I haven´t had breakfast because I`m doing those million and one things I need to do!!!!! so that`s how I ended feeling like the woman in the photo...  (I even need to be discipline to eat and exercise!!!) ouf!

I guess what I really wanted to tell you all is I`m planning to have 3 weeks of hard work, discipline work, away from the computer (at least posting and checking in a discipline way), not taking custom orders until May 12th and focused in 2 big orders I have to finish by the 2nd week of next month (they are a big surprise).  So... I`m starting to feel the stress... and this time... Just this time... I won´t let it happen, I won´t finish like the woman in the photo... I`ll end these challenge in a better way... I`ll listen to Syrio Forel and I`ll keep repeating those phrases in my mind,  (they sooth me... really they do!)  

Have a good week everyone! above all have a productive week!!!

Cara Carmina

photo by: Keith Guy

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Write it Out

Follow Your Heart moleskine journal by PeacesofIndigo
 For the last few weeks, I've been journaling more. Not a private journal about my own thoughts and feelings on life (although, those enter in plenty), but a journal about where I want to be and who I want to become as an artist and business person.

Remember all of those countless times people have told you to write down your goals? Well, I challenge you to take it a step further: I challenge you to explore who you are as a business person and as a creative individual through journaling specifically about your work.

It's really helped me to realize where my weaknesses in time management are, to understand what works for me and what doesn't, and to be more aware than ever of where I want to go. Finding out where I want to go has been the best thing to come out of this for me.

I hope you'll take me up on my challenge!

*By TuckooandMooCow

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


yes, I have ants at home...

Spring is really happening now in Montreal and with its arrival a bunch of visitors arrive to our house uninvited because we live half a block from the St. Laurent River... (very nice ha?)  Among these visitors we have bees, spiders, flies (don´t like this ones) and ants....

The ants appear little by little... one after another show up in my studio.  My studio is the closest room to the balcony that faces the street and a huge Maple tree so that`s why they come there first... I like tho think they like my work... but being realistic I`m just the closest room.

They have arrived since 2 or 3 weeks ago and they haven´t stopped coming, in fact, they have arrived more and more often.  I`m starting to think we have to control this somehow... (we`ll talk to the landlord to see what he can do... as long as does not involve too much suffering for them... we are vegetarians and hate to kill anything...  maybe a sign that says "no ants allowed" would help and there would be no casualties)

Well... the point to all this ants story is that the other day while trying to photograph one of them... I started to think about their size, they are so small! less than an inch long.  We live in the 3rd floor... so somehow this tiny being climbs three floors... (human floors, in ants measurements that must be a lot more!)  I`m amazed about their tenacity... about their perseverance.   They are very determined, they have a goal in mind (whatever it may be) that makes them climb up... and they get to my studio!!!! all by themselves!!!!  amazing ha?

This whole ants situation has made me think of myself and my work.  I cannot but compare my artistic journey to an ant´s climb...  I have many goals for my work... and for myself as an artist.  So... I guess what I really wanted to tell you today is that I want to be like an ant!!!  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hitting Resistance and Overcoming It

Running Love, hand painted necklace by TuckooandMooCow
Working myself through a funk is a long and winding process. It seems so easy to be inspired when I'm in a peppy go-go-go attitude, but when I hit the wall and slump, I really slump.

The past month has been a bit of a study in this. Hitting resistance comes with the territory of being in a creative line of work. We thrive on bursts of energy which can last for hours or even years, but eventually we all hit the wall of resistance. Why do you think the phrase "writers block" is such a common one? We've all encountered it.

A few weeks ago, I decided I was going to make some big changes in my life first and let them work outwards. I'd noticed for almost a year the growing stagnation inside myself. It crept like a swelling river flooding over the banks of my veins and drowning me with its soul-sucking power. By the time my husband left to begin his career in the Air Force, it was all too easy to let it consume me.

After a little over a week accomplishing nothing I decided enough was enough and I sat down to take a serious look at my life. I realized that I'd been dragging my feet on things for a long time. I'd been gradually becoming more sedentary and becoming less peppy. I started to think, "I'm not sure I know me like this." I realized immediately that my body needed to move. Just like a puppy needs to be walked and run, so did I, so out I went.

For Love of Running, hand painted necklace by TuckooandMooCow

I ran and ran through the neighborhood until I was so tired I thought I might collapse. I kept it up for days...then that become a week... then more, and finally here I am four weeks later. As I ran each day I started realizing something: when my body moved, so did my mind. It was like I could physically push myself through that wall that resistance had built up in front of me! This gave me even more strength and courage to keep it up!

Resistance is a rough thing. Until reading through the book for our AAG Book Club, "The War of Art," I hadn't really put a name to that invisible barrier that was stopping me from doing what I needed to. I kept thinking that so long as I was functioning and capable that was enough. But it really isn't.

Are you stuck in a rut? I seriously encourage you to find some way to get your body moving whether that's running, dance, yoga, pilates, or jump roping! Your mind craves the energy your body provides. Don't ignore those puppy-like urges to play! As creative people we should be playing everyday to hold on to that child-like sense of wonderment and to keep the beast of resistance at bay.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Artist Coach

Last month I started seeing an Artist Coach! and I want to share my experience with you all because I`ve found it as a very enriching experience for me and my business.  For me personally seeing an artist coach has many purposes:  I would like to have a sense of direction in my business, I need to push my career forward and  I really want to improve my business skills as an artist which are not that great at the moment.  I`ve seen my coach 2 times already, first to introduce myself and my work to her and the 2nd for a workshop she gives called: "Jump Start your Art" (sound interesting ha?) So..... here is some of the info I got form this workshop that I found super interesting and I hope it helps you too!  

Business of Art - Required qualities and skills

- Creative vision & competency
- Strong desire for independence
- Self-confidence & self-reliance
- Versatility & resourcefulness
- Persistence, self-discipline & determination
- Organization, planning & time management
- Promotion - Sales skills
- Ability to take calculated risks
- Knowledge of your industry

She explained that as creative professionals we have to have three main things in our business:

- Creation & Production
We have to have something to sell ha? we have to have a product and this product has to be a good one, specially as an artist-designer you have to have coherence and a self recognizable style plus quality.  This is very important

- Marketing - Promotion - Development
You have to develop a brand and put it in the right marketplace for it to be successful, you have to be known and in order to do this you have to have promotional strategies.  Because lets face it, it doesn´t matter how good a product you can have, if no one knows it, no one will buy it and you will not have a business at all.  You have to be able to target your market and present your work to your target market in the best of ways to make it appealing.

-Governance (this is my less favorite of the three)
This is basically regarding to the business itself, numbers, taxes, business plan (do you have one, I don`t!), company structure, legal structure, etc...

So... at the workshop we had to put a % of time for these three different aspects of our creative businesses.  She explained you HAVE TO do the three of them in order to be successful and you have to be able to do them almost everyday (with different % of time and also depending of the season of the year, it can vary of course but you HAVE TO do them all).  I put 40% for creation and production, 40% for Marketing and 20% for governance... that is ideally you see, because right now my time is very much focused in the marketing and almost not at all in the governance and I`m getting a bit behind in the production.  That`s called time management (oh oh oh but I think you already have heard about that ha?) try to make a plan of how much time will you put in these three different baskets and stick to it...  I`m trying!!!!

And last but not least she gave us a list of people we NEED to surround us with to achieve our goals as a creative business person.

-  The public:  Fan and followers (advocates), buyers and employers-clients.

These are the people that will make our brand successful at the end, those who like it, those who buy it, those who tell their friends about it so they can also buy it.

- Your industry / community: Presenters, industry players (reps, bookers, agents, critics, curators, programmers, etc), industry organizations, networks and information portals, media (advocates), creative collaborators, expert professionals (graphic designers, publicists, lawyers, accountants, etc.), suppliers

In order for your business to be successful you have to be part of the industry you belong to, these is key to be successful, you have to get all the possible help from the people who know the business, who will do those things you don't know, you will only enrich yourself if you do so.

- Funders / Patrons: Granting agencies, sponsors, members, donors

Being an artist is not a very easy way to make money (we all know that already ha?).  If you get to have some sponsorship or a grant this will certainly help your business and there are many resources out there for artists, you should put a bit of time and effort to find them and get them.

I went out of the workshop feeling very accomplished as many of the people attending it were very young artists who had no clue about many of this things and are just starting their careers.  I really believe Cara Carmina is going in the right path and that gives me a sense of direction. I felt very proud of my hard work and also very happy to know many of the points she suggested we should do to improve our businesses I´m already doing them (applauses).  I need to change and improve many things and get to be a great time manager (working on it as we speak!!!! ain´t easy but I'm trying).

Being a professional artist is certainly not an easy thing.  Specially when you are the only one working (like me) on everything at the same time, but is not impossible either and I know I can only get better at it! Hope all this information is helpful for all of you!

Oh oh oh and I found this great article about Artist Coaching that is very interesting and I would suggest all of you to read!

Cara Carmina